“Tossing and Turning, Turning and Tossing”
(I tossed and I turned all night)

Remember that song? It was written in 1965 and here we are in 2013 with sleep difficulties reaching an epidemic proportion. Women, men and even children are affected by this stressful condition. A good night’s rest is the foundation of health and well being. More and more evidence points to lack of sleep as a contributor to declining physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. Along with good eating habits, happy and healthy relationships, work we enjoy and exercise goes a good night’s rest as an imperative ingredient in our health regime.

When I started my practice as an aromatherapist, I did not know how prevalent an issue sleep difficulties were until one of my private clients asked that I create a sleep blend to help her sleep. As my private practice grew and I launched my line, Essence of Vali the demand for the sleep blend also grew. That was 9 years ago and this blend continues to be the most popular. People are still tossing and turning all night.

Some people fall asleep easily and then wake up at 3 in the morning while others take many hours to fall asleep. These are the two common patterns. Anything less than 7 hours of sleep is considered not enough. Even those of us who are good sleepers may not be getting enough rest.

I believe that most of these difficulties are due to stress and also due to some of the foods we eat. So, what can we do to cut down on stress levels and what are foods we should avoid to safeguard our sleep health? Please continue reading for some tips and a way to get started.

Substances to Avoid 
Coffee, Soda and Alcohol: These are substances that affect our energy in some way – be it stimulating or sedative. Try drinking water and herbal teas which contribute to your well being and create balance in your body, mind and spirit, rather than a roller coaster effect.

Sugar: The impact of sugar is a spike in energy and then “fall down” and a vicious cycle of “up” and “down”. There are many healthy treats that you can find in the health food store that can satisfy your sweet tooth without causing damage.

Nicotine: This one I think goes without saying.

Stress: I put this under “substance” because it has become a metaphorical substance in all of our lives. It is a common refrain – “I am so stressed out” that we all speak and hear and that in and of itself is stressful.

How do we eliminate the toxin of stress? We can empower ourselves to significantly decrease its impact on our lives by doing things that ease stress levels. See below for some of my ‘stress busters”

  1.  Restorative yoga (gentle yoga)
  2.  Exercise
  3.  Dancing
  4.  Listening to music
  5.  Talking to someone really positive
  6.  Writing in a journal
  7.  Taking a bath
  8.  Positive affirmations
  9.  Drinking herbal tea, such as chamomile
  10.  Rescue Remedy or other bach flower essences
  11.  Aromatherapy
  12.  Getting a massage or self massage
  13.  Helping a friend or stranger
  14.  Acupuncture

And the list goes on and on.

Just start seeing how wondrous you are and how deserving you are of putting the best substances into your being so that you can maintain optimum health, which includes a great night’s sleep. Once your body is in a healthier state, your sleep patterns will improve naturally.

Other ideas for improving sleep.

  1. Keep a regular schedule in terms of when you go to sleep and when you wake up.
  2. Do not eat a heavy meal before bedtime.
  3. Keep sound and light out of your bedroom as much as possible.
  4. Take a relaxing bath prior to getting into bed.
  5. Use natural products instead of prescription medication or over the counter products.
  6. Do some breathing exercises and listen to relaxation tapes
  7. Do not listen to the news before bed

In closing, you deserve not only to get a great night’s sleep each night, but to maintain optimum health so that you can. The two, I believe go hand and hand. Start today on your (Sleep) Health Regime because you are the most precious being on the planet.

Valerie Bennis
Founder & President, Essence of Vali
Tel: 212-242-0576